612-644-9781 info@crossfitslipstream.com

Thoughts on the “Bodies” Exhibit

I finally had my chance to see “Bodies”, the exhibit of plasticized humans.  While its run at the Minnesota Science Museum has ended, you may be familiar with it.  Though many have questioned the ethics involved, the lure of plasticized human organs or entire people is undeniable.  Unfortunately, the exhibit did not use the bodies to best advantage, which would have been to focus on anatomy and biomechanics.  Instead, it mixed in physiology and related health issues.  What is the difference and why does it matter?

Anatomy deals with the structure and functions of living things.  It is big picture stuff like ‘this is the hip joint and how it moves.’  Plasticized humans display anatomy in a way never before possible.  They also demonstrate biomechanics in a uniquely helpful way.  Biomechanics is the study of how our bodies interact with gravity.  It looks at finding the best way to move the body to perform various tasks. 

Javelin man is the lone example of human movement

In contrast, physiology is about how body parts perform their functions and interact with one another.  Physiology is how the body actually becomes and remains healthy, produces energy, and moves.  This is primarily biochemical in nature.

Related: The Slipstream Difference: “Functional” Training

When we think about health, longevity, fitness, and performance, what we are thinking about is mostly physiology – how well is our body functioning (health and fitness), can it maintain that over time (longevity), and how these compare with what we are capable of (performance). 

Anatomy and biomechanics can describe how well you move, which has enormous implications for performance.  If you have lost range of motion anywhere in your body, perhaps due to an old injury or just a sedentary lifestyle, that will affect your biomechanics.  This causes the body to find a way to accomplish the movement that is not optimal, but gets the job done given your limitation(s).  

This causes stresses that show up as wear and tear on the body. A replaced knee and hip were displayed at “Bodies,” along with disc degeneration and osteoporosis, to excellent effect.  This does not, however tell you how these issues came about, and particularly why one knee wore out while the other did not.   

Related: Move Well, then Move Often

The answer to that lies in either (1) trauma, such as a linebacker landing on your knee, or (2) poor movement patterns.  For trauma, please see a physical therapist or doctor.  To recover from that, or to identify and correct poor movement patterns we are here to help.

To learn how to move well, and to find a supportive environment in which to move often, contact us at info@crossfitslipstream.com, and get started now!

—John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer  

Member Highlight – Meet Frank

Why did you decide to try CrossFit?  

I wanted to lose weight and supplement my long-overdue return to running.  I thought CrossFit would work better than a gym.  

How is having a CrossFit coach changed your workout or fitness results?

I have never been a lifter, so it’s nice to have someone to show me the correct form.  The encouragement and corrections the coaches give throughout the workout help me actually stick to it.

How has doing CrossFit affected your health and/or life?  

I have more energy throughout the day, and I am sleeping a lot better.  I continue to lose weight also, which is helping with my running.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about trying CrossFit?

Give it a try, you’ll be surprised by how much you like it.

How to: Learn from Internet Videos

A significant barrier to improved health and fitness has always been simply knowing what to do and how to do it.  Gyms and coaches have often been intimidating and may be prohibitively expensive.  Our gym is founded on the principle that everyone has the right to feel welcome, to receive expert assistance with their movement, and excellent programming.  The small group class model allows us to achieve these goals at much lower prices than personal training.  It is still more expensive than large-group classes, but the value of the coaching we provide makes us a relative bargain in comparison.

Related: Why Personal Training

While there may never be a substitute for in-person feedback from a knowledgeable coach, because of cost, time, or other factors, you may want to overcome the learning barrier on your own.  In that case, internet videos do a pretty good job transmitting the basics.  We have a youtube page full of videos to do just that. 

Here are some tips to get the most out of our (or anyone else’s) internet instructional videos:

  1. Keep in mind that videos are generic.  They are not specifically tailored to your personal mobility limitations, limb length ratios, experience, etc.  If it doesn’t feel right, there is a good chance it isn’t right for you.  Don’t hesitate to leave a comment on the video or send an email!  Be as specific as you can about how you are moving, what feels wrong, and when you feel it. We’ll get back to you!
  2. Remember that there are as many ways to describe how to do a movement as there are people trying to do that movement.  If a particular coach’s video doesn’t make sense to you, or doesn’t feel right, first check if that coach has any “foundations”-type videos.  It may be that you need to work on a preliminary step for a particular video to make sense.  The bracing sequence is the foundation of all of our coaching because it simplifies things so much.  Once you understand that, the rest will make a lot more sense.
  3. If that doesn’t work, and you feel a lot of strain or just can’t get into a particular position, check your mobility – if you cannot get into a position, it doesn’t matter what the instruction is.  We have videos on improving your mobility, also.
  4. If you can get into the positions without resistance, but the instruction doesn’t make sense, try a different coach’s video on the same movement.  Different people need to hear or see different things for the movement to “click”.  
  5. Repeat step 4 several times until you find one that works for you.  If that doesn’t work, it’s probably time to invest in a personal training session with a coach you are comfortable with to figure out what the issue is and find a way to work around it.

Related: The Slipstream Difference: Listening

I hope this helps!  Please let me know if you have any questions at john@crossfitslipstream.com!

John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

How to: Barbell Bench Press for Beginners

One of the main benefits of having a coach is to shorten the learning process for movements that require experience and skill to perform optimally, let alone safely.  However, internet videos do a pretty good job of getting you started, so there’s no need to wait another day.  Just be sure to start light and keep the repetitions relatively high (8-12), so you get plenty of practice with the movement.  When 12 reps at a particular weight aren’t challenging, add more and reduce the repetitions to 8.  As with any new movement, you should expect some soreness, but if it interferes with your other workouts or life in general, reduce the weight and total repetitions during your next session.  See how you feel and adjust weight and/or repetitions at your next session accordingly.

Related: How to: Barbell Deadlift for Beginners

Since you’re getting started, don’t do more than 3 sets at your heaviest weight after doing 3-4 lighter warm-up sets.

Questions?  Send them to us at info@crossfitslipstream.com!

Barbell Bench Press for beginners:

Member Highlight – Meet Chris

Why did you decide to try CrossFit?
I moved to the St. Paul area after graduating college and was looking to get back into a regular fitness routine. I had tried CrossFit during the summer between my Sophomore and Junior year and liked the results, so I chose to find a gym near me.

How is having a CrossFit coach changed your workout or fitness results?
I have tried previously to workout on my own in a regular gym setting and found it hard to find variety and motivation in myself to keep going. Having a coach and a group of peers to help push me has helped me get faster results then I would be able to do on my own. It also keeps me accountable for constantly coming to class week after week.

How has doing CrossFit affected your health and/or life?
Exercising regularly has also lead to me having better eating habits. I participate in Downhill Mountain Bike races during the summer and I think CrossFit has helped with my fitness and has shown better results. Overall I feel better and my Grandma has even said that my cheeks look less chubby so that is an added bonus.

What is your favorite CrossFit movement?
I would say the Clean is my favorite, but really anything but Burpees.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about trying CrossFit?
I would say come give it a try. I like how the workouts are all scalable to everyone’s ability level and the coaches do a good job of pushing you the right amount. If they are looking to make improvements to their health I think CrossFit is a great way to start.

Finding the Exercise Program Right for You

One of the main complaints about the fitness industry is the bewildering array of different methods fighting for your attention. How is a person to choose? What makes it worse is that the truth about exercise is that everything works…for 6 weeks. The real questions are (1) what happens in week seven? and (2) will you even stick with it that long?

…our skilled, capable coaching staff dials in the difficulty of every element of every workout so it challenges your current skill and fitness level without exposing you to unnecessary risk.

Any program that will continue to work after 6 weeks does three things: (1) changes the level of difficulty, (2) is enjoyable enough to keep you excited to continue the program, and (3) does not injure or burn you out.  Our program does all three.

By adding or removing plates, we can easily adjust the difficulty of any barbell movement!

We teach an enormous variety of movements, gradually progressing in difficulty as you are able. With tools like the barbell, kettlebell, and gymnastics movements, there is always more challenge available – better technique, more weight, higher speeds, more complexity, new combinations. The variety and continuous challenge keep most people not just interested, but excited to try new things and meet new challenges. And our skilled, capable coaching staff dials in the difficulty of every element of every workout so it challenges your current skill and fitness level without exposing you to unnecessary risk.  On most days.  Some days, you need to dial it back, go easy, and just move your body. You can do that, too, with our coaches’ help.  That helps you avoid burn out, while allowing you to get a good workout, improve your skill level, and set you up for an active, healthy, life.

Related: CrossFit “As Rx” vs. Personal Progress

To learn more about the specifics of our approach to group training, read our posts here, here, and here.  Better yet, contact us at info@crossfitslipstream.com for a free, no-sweat, no-obligation introduction to meet us and discuss how we can help you reach your goals!

–John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

How to: Barbell Deadlift for Beginners

One of the main benefits of having a coach is to shorten the learning process for movements that require experience and skill to perform optimally, let alone safely.  However, internet videos do a good job of getting you started, so there’s no need to wait another day!

One of the main benefits of having a coach is to shorten the learning process for movements that require experience and skill to perform optimally, let alone safely. 

Be sure to start light and keep the repetitions relatively high (8-12), so you get plenty of practice with the movement.  When 12 reps at a particular weight aren’t challenging, add more weight and reduce the repetitions to 8.  As with any new movement, you should expect some soreness, but if it interferes with your other workouts or life in general, it’s too much.  Reduce the weight and/or total repetitions during your next session.

Related: How To Grip the Bar for Pull-ups

Deadlifts are powerful medicine, so don’t do more than 3 sets at your heaviest weight after doing 3-4 lighter warm-up sets.

Send your questions to info@crossfitslipstream.com!

–John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

Member Highlight- Meet Amanda

 

Why did you decide to try CrossFit?
I was in a rut and really bored with my fitness routine….to the point where I was barely exercising at all….. I needed something new and I needed a challenge to get engaged again.
How is having a CrossFit coach changed your workout or fitness results?
It’s really hard for me to feel if I am using good form and the coaches are so good at correcting and guiding me in that aspect.
How has doing CrossFit affected your health and/or life? 
I feel so much stronger and healthier. It helps me make better choices outside of the gym as well when I know I’ll be deadlifting or doing wall balls tomorrow.
What is your favorite CrossFit movement?  
I don’t really have a favorite,  but I’m really happy that I don’t have any movements that scare me or make me uncomfortable anymore. I noticed this happened right around the 1-year mark.  I definitely have a lot of room for improvement but I used to be tempted to skip class if I wasn’t comfortable with some part of the workout. Now I feel eager instead of timid.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about trying CrossFit?  
Go for it! It has changed my life for the better in a multitude of ways.

It’s Time for a Change. But How?

The recent book Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard, by Chip & Dan Heath, lays out a helpful three-part framework for making change using the metaphor of an elephant and rider.  The elephant and rider metaphor is an update version of Plato’s observed millennia ago, using a charioteer and unruly horse.  Since we don’t have many of either in Minnesota, I’ll stay with elephant & rider here, and focus on changes relevant to health and fitness, though the framework is effective anywhere.

To make a change, you must:

  1. Direct the rider

  2. Motivate the elephant, and

  3. Shape the path

 The rider represents the conscious, thinking mind.  The part of you that judges your current health, fitness, or activity level to be undesirable.  The elephant represents your unconscious, emotional mind.  The part of you that is unhappy, or cannot identify with the image you see in the mirror.  The path is the situation you are in and represents the opportunity to reach a destination.

Related: Why Do I Keep Needing to Start at Square One?

If you want to change, then you have probably looked down your current path and decided that you do not wish to reach that destination.  This is the first step towards change.  That decision can be thinking (I don’t want to be unhealthy, limited, and struggling) or feeling (that person I see in the mirror is not the real me, or I feel embarrassed by my performance, or my looks right now).

Related: The Slipstream Difference: “Fitness” and Your Goals

Our approach at Slipstream is to help you get in touch with these thoughts and feelings, and help you define a path from where you are to where you want to be.

We are here to help.  Contact me at john@crossfitslipstream.com for a free, no-sweat discussion of where you are, and how we can help you.

—John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

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